Interning in NYC – Blog #1

Hi there! I am interning in New York City with a nonprofit organization called “The Doula Project.” As an organization, we provide full spectrum doula services to individuals across the spectrum of pregnancy. It has been really exciting so far! I’ve been doing my homework, trying to become as knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth as I can. Because we work with different healthcare providers throughout the city, I had to get cleared to work at these different facilities before I was able to start. My first couple of weeks were very tedious and I am so glad that they are finally over! I had a very, um, “interesting” introduction to the New York public hospital.

I was completely blown away, and super delighted to learn how diverse the staff at the hospital is! I have never seen so many black nurse practitioners, phlebotomists, etc., in my entire life. There were a lot of Spanish speaking people on staff at the hospital as well. I remember feeling inspired by the colorful staff members on site. Things were going really well until my second visit to the hospital.

I had just undergone a physical by a nurse practitioner who was apparently having a bad day. I was now waiting in the common area to be seen by the phlebotomist, who needed to collect a “small” sample of my blood for testing. I waited for roughly 20 minutes, when a short woman with a strong Jamaican accent called “Chealsee.” I quickly got up from my seat and followed her into an examination room. This room was divided into three cubicles and others were inside, also getting their blood drawn. This made me a little uncomfortable, but one by one, the other patients started to exit the room. Over the next 5 minutes, the phlebotomist and I sat in silence as she prepared everything she needed to draw my blood. I watched her closely for several moments when I saw her place two empty 12-inch vials on a metal cart. This made me uneasy, so I started to ask her questions about how much blood I was required to give, and what they were testing for. She looked at me blanked faced for a moment, and gave me an answer that I could not at all understand. Her Jamaican accent was so thick that I only caught the word “test,” and I honestly just zoned out in defeat. My mind wasn’t able to drift away for long though, as she started vigorously tapping my arm searching for the perfect blood vessel to stab. She was having a hard time finding one, as my veins were hiding from her vicious needle. ALAS! She found one, and on three, she poked me and I drifted far away from the scene. (I really don’t like needles) Then she started talking to me again. This time, she was telling me to do something but I could not understand her. It took us a while, but eventually I figured out that she wanted me to hold the first vial of blood while she prepared the second one. This is when everything went completely left. As she switched the vials, she pulled the needle out of my vein, and blood gushed EVERYWHERE. It looked like my vein had completely emptied itself onto my light colored blue jean pants and her white scrubs. I saw everything happen in slow motion, and I just sat there stunned! So many thoughts going through my mind. “How could this happen?” “Is she really a phlebotomist?” “Can I NEVER come here again?”

Fast forward: I ended up having to go back two days later and produce two new vials of blood. Same phlebotomist, same experience, but this time we struck gold and successfully obtained our vials. Yay! Everyone loves a happy ending.

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